childanddogThrough phone consultation, Dr. Sharon Wong answers clients’ questions regarding pet euthanasia and addresses their concerns about whether this is the right decision, how the process works, and what decisions need to be made for burial or cremation. Dr. Wong also provides resources for grief counseling if desired. She strives to provide family-centered, humane, compassionate advice for people and their pets with these end-of-life decisions.

Here are some of the ways she recommends to memorize a beloved pet’s life:

  • Clay paw imprints
  • Songs, letters, poetry, and drawings
  • Donations to pet charities or pet food

Our pets provide us with unconditional love and companionship throughout their lives. We, as pet owners, supply their needs of food, shelter, and health care. Fortunately, most pets with proper care lead long, happy, healthy lives.

Euthanasia is a hard decision for pet owners to face. If a pet has a terminal illness, or an injury which compromises the pet’s quality of life, an owner may elect to euthanize the pet. Each pet owner should discuss this with his or her veterinarian and family. Friends can supply moral support, but the ultimate decision is the pet owner’s.

Before Dr. Wong comes to a residence to euthanize a pet, she first asks the owner about the pet’s quality of life. Is the pet unable to walk, unable to eat, or to breathe easily? Is it actively bleeding? Has the cancer spread? Is the pet in significant pain or distress?

She asks if family members are emotionally ready for euthanasia of their pet. Do they need more time? Who should be present? Next she asks the family if they have any special wishes for the pets’ body after euthanasia. Some people want to have the body cremated. Others might have a special place in their yard where they would like to bury the pet. There are area businesses that provide pet cremation and cemetery services and may provide urns for pet owners. Some businesses offer personalized grave markers and plaques in memory of beloved pets.

Euthanasia for a family pet is a difficult decision. Even though this decision is never easy, it is often necessary and the right thing to do for your beloved pet. Dr. Wong provides guidance to people with this difficult decision and encourages them to cherish the memories of their devoted pets.

Quality of Life Scale

Pet caregivers can use this Quality of Life Scale to determine the need for euthanasia. Score patients using a scale of: 0 to 10 (10 being ideal).



0-10HURT – Adequate pain control & breathing ability is of top concern. Trouble breathing outweighs all concerns. Is the pet’s pain well managed? Can the pet breathe properly? Is oxygen supplementation necessary?
0-10HUNGER – Is the pet eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does the pet need a feeding tube?
0-10HYDRATION – Is the pet dehydrated? For patients not drinking enough water, use subcutaneous fluids daily or twice daily to supplement fluid intake.
0-10HYGIENE – The pet should be brushed and cleaned, particularly after eliminations. Avoid pressure sores with soft bedding and keep all wounds clean.
0-10HAPPINESS – Does the pet express joy and interest? Is the pet responsive to family, toys, etc.? Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? Can the pet’s bed be moved to be close to family activities?
0-10MOBILITY – Can the pet get up without assistance? Does the pet need human or mechanical help (e.g., a cart)? Does the pet feel like going for a walk? Is the pet having seizures or stumbling? (Some caregivers feel euthanasia is preferable to amputation, but an animal with limited mobility yet still alert, happy and responsive can have a good quality of life as long as caregivers are committed to helping their pet.)
0-10MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD – When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life might be too compromised. When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be made aware that the end is near. The decision for euthanasia needs to be made if the pet is suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly at home, that is okay.
TOTALA total under 35 points represents poor life quality and the need for euthanasia.